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Israelis You Should Know: Michael Levitt

flickr/Bengt Nyman

Name: Michael Levitt

Age: 68

About him: Michael Levitt is an Israeli biophysicist who was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Born in 1947 in South Africa to a Jewish family from Lithuania, Dr. Levitt moved to England as a teenager. He visited Israel for the first time as a young man in 1967. After starting a family, he made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) with his wife and three children in 1979, becoming an Israeli citizen the following year.

As a scientist, Dr. Levitt's work has focused on using computers to study molecules. This expertise found him working at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel in 1967, where he used computer modeling to understand how biological molecules behave. From 1980 to 1987, he was Professor of Chemical Science at the Weizmann Institute. Since then, he has been Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University. Dr. Levitt's family still lives in Israel, and he spends his time there with them in the Holy Land when he is not teaching.

In 2013, Dr. Levitt won - along with two colleagues, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems." For his work in furthering science, in teaching tomorrow's scientists, and in making Israel his family's home, Michael Levitt is truly an Israeli we would like to know.

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